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Way-too-early 2015 Big Ten football power rankings

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10. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers v Washington StateThe biggest piece of news is that the best player on the Rutgers roster is coming back for the 2015 season. Of course we’re talking about wide receiver Leonte Carroo, who ended the year as a first-team All-Big Ten pick by the media.

However, the bad news is Carroo won’t have his better half back in quarterback Gary Nova. Therein lies the biggest reason a team who finished 7-5 last season is this far back in our power rankings.

It’s likely that redshirt sophomore Chris Laviano will be in line to replace Nova, but that may be because of a complete lack of experience at the position than anything else. Laviano appeared in five games, but completed just 39.3 percent of his passes for 107 yards and one interception and no touchdowns.

This will be an interesting offseason with Ralph Friedgen having a blank slate to work with at quarterback. Laviano is likely to see some challenge from LSU transfer Hayden Rettig.

No matter who wins, it will be interesting to see how 50-plus game starting guard Kaleb Johnson is replaced on the offensive line. He was easily the best lineman the Scarlet Knights had last season and a massive hole to try to replace in 2015.

Defensively, this team may be in better shape thanks to still having star defensive tackle Darius Hamilton back, but he’ll be the lone returning starter up front and Rutgers is going to have to get better against the big teams in order to stay above .500 this season.

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Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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